THE Court of Appeals (CA) ordered the Bureau of Customs to allow the resumption of operation of the Designated Examination Area (DEA) located inside the Acquarius Container Yard (ACY) in Sasa, Davao City.

In an order dated July 22, 2010, the CA denied the application for injunctive relief by BOC Davao head Anju Nereo Castigador in relation to the preliminary injunction ordered by Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge George Omelio.

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Omelio earlier directed the BOC to "cease and desist" from implementing the closure of the DEA at ACY as well as the revocation of the subject memorandum of agreement and to continue the enforcement and implementation of the same by conducting the examination of shipments.

Lawyer Manuel Quibod, legal counsel of Reta, said the CA resolution penned by Associate Justice Edgardo Lloren orders the BOC to allow the resumption of the operation of the DEA in the ACY. He lamented though that despite the CA order, the BOC Davao under Castigador still refuses to comply.

Quibod said they have filed two new cases of indirect contempt against the BOC official and had already requested the court to issue a bench warrant against Castigador for his arrest until such time he complies with the preliminary injunction order of the court.

The legal battle between the BOC and Reta started when the latter squealed on the alleged anomalies ongoing inside the DEA.

On February 28, Reta divulged the discovery of sacks of rice inside one of the 40 suspected container vans that were earlier declared to contain "construction materials".

One of the 40 suspected container vans has been confirmed to have contained sacks of rice as photos taken from it showed the sacks. The photo also confirmed Reta's accusation of long-time anomaly at the BOC in misdeclaring of goods to the detriment of the government.

Reta said BOC officials in the Port of Davao have been in connivance with importers in misdeclaring and smuggling of goods.

Documents provided by Reta to the media showed that several incidents in the past showed several container vans were not fully stripped.

Stripping entails that container vans should be manually opened and all its contents are checked by BOC personnel piece by piece.

Reta said even though documents would show that there was 100 percent physical examination on container vans, what is actually happening is that BOC personnel just cut off the seal and does not open the vans and check its contents.

Reta showed documents where the declaration was tires but the x-ray image showed stack of sacks. He said the content of the container vans are actually sacks of rice and not tires as declared in the documents.

He also said there were several container vans that were declared as talcum powder, but in reality, they contain sacks of rice.

Reta’s expose’ prompted the BOC to nullify its memorandum of agreement with Reta for the operation of DEA inside ACY and instead transferred the DEA inside the Sasa wharf, which until now is still operating despite the CA order. (Ben O. Tesiorna)